Wake up early. Analyze lab results. Prepare reports for clients. Go to scheduled air inspections in commercial and residential environments. Submit samples to a lab in Washington. Then back to office work and equipment maintenance. That’s the typical day in the life of an Indoor Air Quality Inspector. Meet Jennifer Philipps of ERA Test, LLC in Montana. She and her mom, Lisa, own and operate the business. They test air to detect threats like mold, asbestos, radon, and methamphetamine. Together they are able to work across the entire state. The dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship in a work environment have brought the family closer together. They are able to lean on and learn from one another. It’s much more common to come across family businesses that are passed from father to son. I must say, it was really exciting to come across a multi-generational family trade that not only involves the women, but is entirely run by them. What an awesome gift of knowledge and skill to bestow. Jennifer’s work wear: Carhartt Women’s Clarksburg Zip-Front Sweatshirt & Women’s Sibley Denim Cropped Pant
You can spend a lifetime chasing your dreams and building your skills. Each passing year brings knowledge and a greater familiarity with your craft. Your hands learn the motions. Your feet know each peddle and step. Mixtures and solutions are written over and over in your mind so many times that you’ll never forget them. Each day you create new thoughts and ideas to make your work better or different. That accumulation is one of the most beautiful parts of life. Each time you put on your Carhartts, still covered in yesterday’s work, you’ve grown stronger, smarter, and more capable. The seasoning of each passing year, with all the mistakes and successes you’ve seen, can only add to who you are. Always wear your dirty work vest with pride.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” -Sophia Loren
Those of you who have ever wanted to learn a trade or a skill know that it seems quite daunting. There’s so much to master and it can feel like you’re putting yourself on the line. Take some advice from Anne Bujold, welder and blacksmith. Start small and work your way up to the big stuff.
Anne’s interest in metalwork started in jewelry making. As her skills grew and she became proficient at fabricating bigger and better things, the possibilities continued to grow in her mind. The knowledge she gained in classes and from mentors led her to expand the concepts of what she considered herself capable of doing.
Knowledge is power. The saying may be old and trite, but it doesn’t make it any less true. When you want something, get your feet wet. Learn as much as you can. Keep an open mind and open ears to hear advice and encouragement. Being a woman in what is typically a man’s world may take a little more elbow grease in the long run. Don’t let that dampen your spirit. Use it as fire to fuel the flames of your passion.
One of Anne’s favorite aspects metalwork is the rush she feels as she wields her hammer. Forging hot metal is dangerous and powerful. Keep that in mind as you view some of her finished work above. Don’t let the fanciful nature of her art fool you into forgetting the labor and ingenuity behind each bend and curve.
Anne’s workwear: Carhartt Women’s Zip-Front Sweatshirt, Carhartt Women’s Calumet Crewneck T-Shirt, Carhartt Women’s Clarkston Cami Tank, Carhartt Women’s Relaxed-Fit Canvas Cane Dungaree, & Carhartt Women’s Quick Flex Glove